Posts Tagged ‘Office for National Statistics’

Largest Death Toll So Far Recorded Yesterday, But Real Figures are probably Even Higher

April 8, 2020

Yesterday, Mike reported that the government had released the latest figures for the numbers of people, who had died that day. At 786 it was the largest so far.


But this probably doesn’t represent the true figures. The Office for National Statistics has revised upwards its estimate for the difference between the government’s figures and the real stats. They had previously suggested that it 23 per cent, so that while the government said that the numbers of people, who had died of Coronavirus by March 27 was 926, the ONS reported that NHS England had recorded a total of 1,650. The revised estimate of the difference between government figures and the true number of fatalities is now, according to the ONS, 78 per cent. Which means that instead of 786 people being killed by the disease yesterday, the real figure was 1,400.

As of yesterday, the total number of deaths according to the government was 5,373. But if the ONS’ estimate is correct, the reality is that 10,000 or over have died in England alone.

Coronavirus: ONS says almost twice as many people have died as official statistics say

I’m mentioning this because the Beeb’s report of the number of deaths that had occurred yesterday was actually upbeat. On the 10 O’clock news the Corporation stated that the increase in the number of deaths wasn’t as great as predicted, which showed that the lockdown may be having an effect and the spread of the disease is slowing.

I hope this is the case, but if the government is hiding the real figures, how can we be sure?

Furthermore, if the real figure for the UK as a whole is 10,000+, then it means that we really aren’t that far behind Italy, which a few days ago had an a total number of deaths of 14,000.

If that’s the case, then it’s another indictment of how complacent and unprepared Boris’ government was, and how indifferent to the deaths from the disease, until they had absolutely no choice but to impose the lockdown.

But either way, Mike was right in his prediction that the government wasn’t going to end the lockdown. The government said yesterday that it would be too premature to raise it, and that it would continue.

Vox Political: Tories Lying About Full Employment

August 18, 2017

Mike yesterday put up a very necessary piece critically examining the Tories’ claims that Britain now has ‘full employment’, meaning that the unemployment rate is 4.5 per cent, and three million more people are in work since this time last year. Mike states very clearly that if you’re confused by your inability to get a decent job or a proper, living wage, despite this news, you’re quite right. It’s because the figures are a lie.

He cites the figures included in two critical reports of the Tory claims, one by The Canary and the other by the UK Business Insider. The Canary states that in order to reach this figure of 3 million more in work, the Tories have had to include 10,000 unpaid family workers and 35,000 on temporary training contracts.

As for wages, these have fallen by 0.5 per cent year on year, so that you’re actually £6 worse off now than when the Tories took power.

The Canary article concludes

“Since the Tories came to power in 2010, more people are in precarious self employment; the public sector has been decimated; young people have been abandoned and we’ve all seen our wages plummet. So, far from being “all in this together”, the UK is becoming a dustbin for employment opportunities. ”

And the UK Business Insider states that the official stats are lies, and the true unemployment rate is higher. Much higher. So high, it will shock you.

“The statistical definition of ‘unemployment’ relies on a fiction that economists tell themselves about the nature of work,” the article states. “The official definition of unemployment disguises the true rate. In reality, about 21.5% of all working-age people (defined as ages 16 to 64) are without jobs, or 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

They also state that this is proved by the fact that wages have not risen. Economics states that if there is low unemployment, then wages should rise as firms compete to attract more workers by offering higher wages, because labour is so scarce.

But instead, public sector wages are capped at 1 per cent, and wages generally are stagnant.

The article goes on

“More important, wages are not keeping pace with inflation… Workers’ real incomes are actually in decline, which is weird because so-called full employment ought to be spurring wages upward. Overall inflation ought to be driven by wage inflation. Yet wage inflation isn’t happening.

“The answer is that unemployment is not really that low. In reality, about 21.5% of British workers are either officially unemployed, inactive, or employed part time even though they really want full-time work. (The ONS has a chapter on that here.) Some of those people — parents with newborns, university students — may not want jobs right now, but they will want jobs soon.”

Mike concludes

Now, you could argue that nobody is saying that 21.5 per cent of working-age people aren’t out of work – the employment rate is only said to be 75 per cent, after all.

But the unemployment rate is said to be only 4.5 per cent. That’s why we’re being told the UK has full employment and it isn’t true.

That’s why you can’t get a job that pays well – even though the Tories claim there are 768,000 vacancies; there are still so many people out of work that they can continue pushing wages down.

This is important, as these fiddled and highly unreliable figures are being touted by the Tories to show that they’ve been successful in tackling unemployment. And as Mike’s shown, they’re a grotesque falsification.

Mike’s piece has also confirmed what I’ve suspected for a very, very long time: that the official statistics for unemployment have been doctored and adjusted by successive governments to disguise the real rate, that they’re completely unreliable.

I can remember how Margaret Thatcher’s administration altered the official unemployment rate when she came to power way back in 1979. And every government since then has done the same thing.

The latest trick done by the Tories was by making the figures count only those who were signing on as jobseekers. As the whole benefits system is designed to humiliate benefit claimants into either getting a job, or not signing on, with sanctions imposed for even the most trivial reasons, many people don’t sign on for jobseeker’s allowance because of the stress of being harangued and bullied by the jobcentre staff.

Thus the unemployment figures are a conscious lie here, based on a spurious method of counting the unemployed.

Then there’s the actual percentage of people really unemployed in Britain – 21 per cent. This makes a complete lie out of the Tory claim that we’re much better than the other EU states, which may have an unemployment rate of 25 per cent. I’ve read that this is Spain’s unemployment rate, along with some of the other EU countries. The argument is that these nations’ more generous welfare systems and highly regulated economies are causing high unemployment by stifling the free market and the beneficial effects of private enterprise.

This becomes extremely questionable if the true British unemployment rate is only 4 per cent behind that of states like Spain. Moreover, economists such as Ha-Joon Chang have shown that free market economics simply don’t work, and that the older, ‘Keynsian’ system of protectionism and a mixed economy with a welfare state actually works far better in promoting economic growth and prosperity.

My guess is that the drive of successive European government to have 50 per cent of all school leavers enter higher education is also, in part, an attempt to disguise an otherwise high unemployment rate. There probably simply isn’t the jobs for all the school leavers, if only 2 to 20 per cent of young people entered university as they used to before the expansion of higher education back in the 1990s.

In short, the unemployment figures May and her cronies are proudly boasting are complete fabrications, designed to deceive the public into believing the economy and job opportunities are far better than they are.

Don’t be fooled. Get May out before she make the situation worse, and already desperately poor people even poorer.

Vox Political: Real Unemployment Numbers Could Be Twice as High as Government Statistics

November 12, 2014

Mike over at Vox Political has gone through the government statistics for the number of people employed, self-employed, and unemployed, and critiqued them. He concludes that the rise in the numbers finding work is largely due to the creation of low paid jobs with few, if any, employment rights, like zero hours contracts and part-time work with no sick pay or holiday entitlement. He also reveals that when the massive increases in salaries by company directors, MPs and bankers are removed, on average pay only increased by 0.6 per cent last year. Furthermore, the growth in the number of people self-employed is probably due to unemployed people forced to take on self-employed status due to tax credits. The number of people, whose benefits have been sanctioned are also not counted in the figures. It is also possible that those on Universal Credit have also been omitted from the official figures. Mike’s article’s called Unemployment rate could be twice as high as figures claim . It begins

The Office for National Statistics has put out new figures on the number of people in work – and it’s more than last month. Hooray!

But, as ever, the devil’s in the detail and – as usual – the small print is annoyingly devoid of the detail we need. Boo!

We are told that figures for September showed employment continued to rise (by 112,000 since the April-June period) and unemployment continued to fall (by 115,000 people). There appear to be 3,000 people for whom these figures don’t account. Interesting…

(Perhaps they’re now on Universal Credit – as those figures aren’t counted in these figures, meaning the current way of calculating these statistics is misleading from the start.)

Pay rates – excluding bonuses – was 1.3 per cent higher than at this time last year. This was being trumpeted as a huge success, as pay has risen about the Consumer Price Index (CPI) calculation of inflation, which stood at 1.2 per cent in September. What a shame the more accurate (which is why the government doesn’t use it) Retail Price Index (RPI) calculation of inflation stood at 2.3 per cent, well above in increase in pay rates.

It’s at